Right-wing extremists are more dangerous as individuals, while left-wing extremists are more dangerous in groups.
Definitions alone mean I'll never prove it. I'm starting to see the old "right-wingers are more dangerous than salafist takfiri" articles. Which can be true if you massage the numbers right... until last year, and the Pulse shooting kicked that idea to the curb.
And yeah, definitions are the key. Do I get lazy enough to assume "Right-wing"="Racist" and include the SC church massacre? Well then, I'd have to add San Bernadino on the Left. (Which makes Pulse some bizarre offshoot of friendly fire).
And that's not even going into insanity. The Colorado Springs shooter may have attacked a Planned Parenthood, but regardless of his politics, the man's nuttier than a squirrel turd, which is why he's in a rubber room instead of awaiting trial. The man was so nuts, his attack profile is completely unique. As in, I've NEVER seen a mass shooting done like his anywhere else, and I've looked at all the major ones since Columbine.
But when you look at it, the really effective right-wing attacks were done with one or very few people. (Think Rudolph or McVeigh. Rare, but do a lot of damage).
Reasons for this could include the idea that the right is all about the individual and the left is all about the collective, but even that is too simplistic.
Right-wing extremists don't "tribe" well outside of small family groups (think the Weavers, the Bundys, Westboro to an extent). Devotion to a cause usually isn't as strong, which leads me to...
A right-wing extremist doesn't have to enact sweeping change in order to win. They just have to bulwark a status quo. But that means any attempt to enact sweeping change is hamstrung. "Leave me alone!" is a great declarative statement, but it's no rallying cry on the level of "damn the man!"
Complementing that, a conservative extremist is much more willing to work within the system. They play by the rules, justifying themselves as being defensive. Yeah, they'll buy a shit ton of ammo and camo, but outside of the range or occasional outings that boil down to a Red Dawn LARP, they're not used for anything, because the bulk of them are unwilling to fire a first shot. In short, it takes an extreme extremist on the right to go to that extreme. (I apologize for that one. Won't happen again).
And finally, demographics mean that right-wing extremists are incredibly susceptible to infiltration by law enforcement and their informants. There's been a couple of articles floating around over the years about Klan infiltrating law enforcement and the military, but none of them point out that the reverse is also believably true. When you have a terrorist cell whose demographics run to clean-cut fortysomething white guys... dunno if you've ever been in an FBI office recently, but yeah. If there's a right-wing extremist group out there bigger than a bowling team and their families that doesn't have at least one fed or someone reporting to a fed, I'll be very surprised. End result of that is that a lot of plots that might have happened get foiled in the planning stages. (which we never see publicized, because if it don't bleed it don't lead).
Take a look at the clusterfuck in Oregon. They take over a nature center in a pacific northwest winter in the middle of nowhere, suck so hard at logistics that they beg for snacks over twitter, are composed of a handful of mostly family groups, are armed to the teeth but mostly shoot at a makeshift range in the snow. One of them is killed at a police blockade. The rest surrender. And in court, charges get dropped because half of them are FBI informants. (Not sure who said "A conspiracy with more informants than conspirators doesn't cut it," but I can't fault the logic.)
Now let's look at the left-wing side.
It's not as if they don't have their lone attackers (the Dallas cop killer comes to mind), but they're far more prevalent and dangerous in packs.
These guys have the good rallying cries. Not many hold up under scrutiny of questions like, "It's going to be paid for how, exactly?" but they don't need to be. Even people who draw an incredible amount of their quality of life from the system have been fucked by it somehow, somewhere. A tax audit, a bullshit traffic ticket, lines at insert government office here, everyone's been dicked somehow.
"Damn the man!" draws people. Sweeping change in a system draws in people who either think they'll benefit heavily from an alternative or at the very least aren't saddled with something that will be upset by said change. I'm not saying the immediate motivations aren't nobly or altruistically intended. I am saying that the cost-benefit analysis they've done says the change they want brings benefits where intended as opposed to present liabilities.
TL;DR: If your life sucks hard enough that it's hard to imagine it getting worse, there's no risk and any manner of reward possible to upsetting the system.
So now you have tribes focused around an idea rather than a family, religion, or trade. This means that you draw more people. You draw people who want to show up. You draw people who want shit done (and can be directed to do shit). You get organizers who focus on the idea itself (which somewhat alleviates suspicions about how it's put together and why). Which means not only the raw numbers grow, but the numbers of those putting effective work in grow. (In contrast to Malheur above, Occupy wall street had bread lines, power stations, medical facilities, even a library)
Because sweeping change almost by definition happens outside the system effected, you wind up with people willing to break rules. Sometimes in a thoreau-like manner (keep jailing us, we'll keep showing up). Sometimes in a more violent manner (Y'know what this limo needs? Open flames).
So now you have a loosely aggregated but heavily invested, much larger group willing to break rules because they're convinced the game is rigged. Which means they can grow much larger, do a lot more damage, and gain much more sympathy than a right-wing group ever could. And they can plan and operate long after a right-wing group would've been rolled up by the authorities.
Look at Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson, Baltimore, Standing Rock.
Organized, based around ideas, huge, and playing outside the rules.
The damage done at this point is mostly economic, with property damage and tying up police resources being the name of the game. Occupy Wall Street alone cost NYC $6 million in police costs, along with a little under $200K in settled lawsuits after the eviction. $26 Million for the two Ferguson riots (which doesn't include the damages to local businesses). $20 Million in government costs for the Baltimore riots, with another 9 Million in private property destroyed.
The reasons it's stayed that way have been mostly PR related. Cities are requiring their police forces to take a soft approach to these protest/riots, figuring that it's better all around to let a building burn than to be put in the position of shooting a rioter and making the riot worse. On the left-wing extremist group side, their leadership already knows what they can get away with. Which is why we've seen improvised weapons instead of knives and guns, and property damage instead of (more) beatings.
(Remember when I mentioned the Dallas cop killer? Acted alone, and likely specifically against the aims of the extremist leaders there. Given his eventual fate, it's not hard to see why).
And now we have the Battle of Berkley. or more likely, the campaign of Berkley, which is looking like opposing mobs both waiting for the chance to hit back first. With luck, this is the stalemate that we stay at until everyone backs off.
So, why am I going into all this detail?
For two reasons.
One, for the left:
Quit worrying about right-wing extremist groups. The militia is much more interested in running around in the woods (but not too much, because a lot of these guys are bigger couch potatoes than I am) in airsofter camo. They're drinking shit domestic beer and telling each other how patriotic they are before they go jerk off to a Gadsen flag. They're not interested in interacting with you outside of the fantasy of their counterparts on the left firing the first shot.
Also, for the love of anything you do hold holy, do not fire the first shot. The moment you do, you're not just dealing with Bonehead Mcplatecarrier and his call of duty cosplay team, you're dealing with the feds. Because the moment you stop burning down insured buildings in front of overtime-paid cops and start gunning people down openly? The cost-benefit analysis changes, and the free hand you've had is gone. (And even I don't want to think how the current administration will flip that switch).
Now, for the right:
You won, now go hold your leader accountable.
No, the left isn't going to cry uncle. They're going to keep marching in the legion of the crochet vulva. They're going to keep blocking you on facebook. They're going to keep protesting. You want them to admit your idea is better, you'll have to prove it to them. Which means convincing is better than orders.
Also, if you're convinced that you would be the winners in an all-out revolution, quit deluding yourselves.
Yeah, on a one-to-one basis, the right probably has a shitload more trained shooters than the left.
Which means precisely dick.
I can train a chimp to run and gun in a few days. A motivated, educated, pissed-off radical that still has scars from a solid rubber police slug nailing her in the kidney a few months ago? She'd figure out the most of it in hours. There's a reason the most toothless dumbass in your old unit was never kicked out. Running and gunning is NOT difficult. Leading is. Motivating is. Organizing is.
And they got leaders, motivators, and organizers in ways that leave your 3% ass lying in the fucking dust.
Right now the extreme left is more worried about affecting the establishment than you. They're busy scaring community leaders and campuses into denying speaker appearances and ordering police forces not to engage protests/riots. They're forcing the system to eat property damage rather than face the rage-mobs that will rise with the first criminal dumbass to eat a bullet in front of the crowd.
The extreme right doesn't have the leadership or the passion to be active against a force like that. Because all of the right's serious, steel-eyed, hard-dicked, do-not-fuck-with-me-if-you-want-to-see-home-again fighters have all looked at the dance of the airsoft sugarplums, said, "fuck this," and went home.
They're out there; they're raising families, they're doing their jobs. They're helping their neighbors. They're involved in their communities.
Yeah, if the shit hits the fan and blows their way, they'll go into action. But they'll be getting just as much work done with sandbags and soup pots as they will with sidearms.
In the meantime, you extreme right idiots are trying to play the extreme left at their own game.
For now, it's a stalemate. Both of you got your adrenaline fix during the battle of Berkley last weekend, declared victory, and chest thumped your way home.
Leave it at that.
And please, by Odin's hairy sack, STOP wishing the extreme left will double down on the violence so you have the excuse of shooting back.
Nobody wins then.